U.S. petrol demand reach record levels

U.S. gasoline demand hits a record in March, that’s typically seen during the summer driving season, motoring and leisure travel membership organisation AAA said on Monday.

The Energy Information Administration data show that U.S. motor gasoline product supplied, which offers a gauge of demand, rose to 9.64 million barrels a day for week ended March 9, from roughly 9.28 million barrels a day a week earlier.

The latest EIA report shows gasoline demand at “levels typical of summer months, not the first quarter of a year,” with exports continuing to “trend high, accounting for a large chunk of this week’s demand data, according to AAA.

“As demand strengthened, gasoline inventories declined, pushing the national gas price average two cents more expensive on the week to $2.55,” said Jeanette Casselano, a spokeswoman for AAA. The EIA reported on Wednesday a hefty 6.3 million-barrel decline in weekly U.S. motor gasoline inventories, as crude CLJ8, +2.19% stockpiles jumped by 5 million barrels.

The national gas price average is also two cents more than a month ago, and 26 cents higher than this time last year, said Casselano.

Looking ahead, Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at gas price tracker GasBuddy, said gasoline prices are likely to continue moving higher in the coming weeks “as demand continues to recover from the winter blues and the transition to summer gasoline kicks into high gear.”

He expects gas prices this spring to “come in some 10%-25% higher than a year ago, removing billions of dollars from other areas of the economy that will instead be funneled to the pump.”